Commonly known as Persia in the Western world, the history of Iran has been intertwined with the history of a larger historical region, comprising the area from Anatolia and Egypt in the west to the Indus Valley and Syr Darya in the east, and from the Caucasus and Eurasian Steppe in the north to the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in the south.


Geographically, Iran is located in West Asia and borders the Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, and Caspian Sea. Its mountains have helped to shape both the political and the economic history of the country for several centuries. The mountains enclose several broad basins, orplateaus, on which major agricultural and urban settlements are located. Until the 20th century, when major highways and railroads were constructed through the mountains to connect the population centers, these basins tended to be relatively isolated from one another.


The Iranian peoples or Iranic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group that comprise the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of the Indo-European-speaking peoples. Their historical areas of settlement were on the Iranian plateau (mainly Iran) and certain neighbouring areas of Central Asia (such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan...